It took him 10 years to complete it, but Martin Zellar just put out the best record of his 25-year career. Yep, even better than those old Gear Daddies albums, although with its unflashy country-rock tones and heart-on-rolled-up-sleeve writing style, it owes Zellar's old band a debt of inspiration. Just imagine the Daddies spiked with all of Zellar's experiences since then. Released this week, "Roosters Crow" brings Zellar back to Minnesota from his Mexican home to celebrate. He and the Hardways -- fellow Daddies alum Nick Ciola on bass and drummer Scott Wenum -- recorded the album in Austin, Texas, with such simpatico Austin all-stars as Lloyd Maines (Natalie's dad), Kevin McKinney (Soulhat), Bukka Allen (BoDeans) and Kelly Willis. (9 p.m. Fri., Fine Line. $15-$18.) Chris Riemenschneider

Even after relocating in 2008 from Cleveland to Austin, Texas, Erika Wennerstrom of the Heartless Bastards hasn't lost any of her Rust Belt grit or gray-sky moodiness. Like fellow Ohioan Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, she has a smoky and mighty blues-howler voice but more of a straight-up, muscle-rock band behind her. On their fourth album, "Arrow," the Bastards tightened up and got even heavier with help from producer Jim Eno (Spoon), but still left the spotlight to one of rock's most compelling frontwomen of the moment. Highly recommended. Wigged-out opening act Hacienda is one of Auerbach's better discoveries as a producer. (9 p.m. Fri., First Avenue. $15.) Riemenschneider

On 2008's "All Sides," jam-band faves O.A.R. proved that they understand songcraft and radio sensibilities. On last year's "King," the Ohio State alums returned to the reggae-tinged and laidback funk grooves that have made them such a popular live frat-rock band for the past decade. Frontman Marc Roberge sounds like he could have been Jason Mraz's twin separated at birth. (8 p.m. Sat. State Theatre, $27.) Jon Bream

Trailer Trash frontman Nate Dungan is a man with a cause. In conjunction with St. John's Episcopal Church, he is organizing a benefit to raise money to help build a footbridge in the Guatemalan village of Nueva Providencia. The previous bridge was wiped out by Tropical Storm Agatha. Of course, Trailer Trash, one of Minnesota's finest purveyors of classic country and quirky humor, will perform, along with singer/songwriter Chris Koza, the funky Brass Kings and the Honeydogs, Twin Cities rockers of long standing. Comic Tim Dybevik will emcee the event, billed as "Building Bridges With Music." (1:30-5 p.m. Sat., Famous Dave's Uptown, suggested donation of $30, 612-922-0396, ext. 15.) Bream

Before producing Tapes n' Tapes' debut and then becoming their bassist, Erik Appelwick had generated his own buzz fronting the sexy and sophisticated, sleepy-eyed indie-pop vehicle Vicious Vicious. The band is finally back with another record, simply titled "Vicious Vicious." The project features the complicated talents of two longtime collaborators, now also better known elsewhere, drummer Martin Dosh (of Dosh and Andrew Bird's band) and bassist James Buckley (Pines, Mystery Palace). Together, they crafted a seductively funky but also charmingly spacey and elegant collection, featuring equal traces of Kinks, Air and Prince. The ethereally soaring track "Hangin' On" is a must-hear. Dan Mariska & the Boys Choir open, and Andrew Broder will DJ the release party. (10 p.m. Sat., 7th Street Entry. $8-$10.) Riemenschneider

The Capri Theater's Legend Series presents a valentine show titled "Speak Low When You Speak Love." It's three Minnesota men with deep voices singing love songs, accompanied by pianist Sanford Moore. Dennis Spears and Julius Collins III are fresh from Illusion Theater's "Always and Forever," which celebrated early '70s soul music. The Rev. Dennis Oglesby doesn't take to the stage often but the dashing pastor from Park Avenue Church with the deliciously deep voice wowed a Capri crowd last year during a brief appearance in an extraordinary show by his wife, Greta Oglesby. (7 p.m. Sat. & 3 p.m. Sun. Capri Theater, $25, 1-866-811-4111, capritheater.org.) Bream

Still riding the Third Wave of ska some 30 years later, the Toasters continue to make energy-packed, witty, sometimes socially conscious and always joy-spreading music. Led by British expat Robert "Bucket" Hingley, New York City's most durable ska band is back on the road with a vengeance, playing 26 straight one-nighters including a date on the West Bank, where you can re-enlist in their "2-Tone Army." (9 p.m. Sat., Triple Rock Social Club, $10-$12.) Tom Surowicz

Last seen at a 2004 Roy Wilkins show where their stage lights outnumbered audience members, British metal throwbacks the Darkness are back after a seven-year hiatus and hoping to lighten up the rock world in dark times. The hairy lads can thank Samsung Mobile -- which just ran a Super Bowl ad featuring their hit "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" -- for reminding us who they are. They also dropped an ironically titled new song, "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us," with a video that is literally cartoonish. We get one of the first dates on their U.S. comeback tour, also featuring Foxy Shazam and Crown Jewel Defense. (8:30 p.m. Sun., First Avenue. $25.) Riemenschneider

Two groups that have earned a lot of love lately on the metal-leaning VH1 Classic channel, Megadeth and Motörhead, otherwise don't make for a very romantic Valentine's Day option. But hey, at least they're playing at the dusted-off Myth nightclub, close enough to the Maplewood Mall for all male attendees to buy a pre-emptive make-good gift before the show. Once again featuring Minnesota-bred co-founder Dave Ellefson on bass, Megadeth just earned another Grammy nomination for its lucky 13th release, "Th1rt3en." The four-band Gigantour also features two freaky and ferocious newcomers, Volbeat and Lacuna Coil. (7 p.m. Tue., Myth, 3090 Southlawn Dr., Maplewood. $43.) Riemenschneider

Alejandro Escovedo's former bandmate in the True Believers, Jon Dee Graham became another unsung hero of the Austin, Texas, scene with a string of powerful albums in the 1990s for New West Records. He has a new record out under the alias the Hobart Brothers, with Freedy Johnston and Susan Cowsill. But he's coming solo to promote his own new disc, "Garage Sale." Austin newcomer Mike June opens. (9:30 p.m. Tue., 400 Bar. $5.) Riemenschneider

At 72, South African legend Hugh Masekela remains a charismatic ball of fire in concert. He's still got that gruff, soulful voice and his flugelhorn playing is similarly dramatic: staccato and infectious on uptempo tunes, tender on ballads. He always brings a great, versatile band, and he has a new CD: "Jabulani," an album of African wedding songs with some nice surprises -- cool kora playing on "No Harvest," pure pop romance on the ballad "Rosie My Girl"-- though it's the classic groovers such as "Makoti" and "Fiela" that fans will dig the most. (7 & 9 p.m. Wed.-Thu., Dakota Jazz Club, $30-$40.) Surowicz

A longtime James Brown impersonator, Charles Bradley was discovered by Daptone Records poobah Gabriel Roth (Sharon Jones' bassist/bandleader) and given an opportunity to put out his own music. Last year's "No Time for Dreaming" shows Bradley to be a Southern soul shouter in the spirit of Wilson Pickett. Bradley's tune "Why Is It So Hard" addresses the 63-year-old's hard life, during which he's worked as a chef, shoe-shiner and handyman. Bradley's sound is grittily retro but his delivery is vibrant and exciting. (8 p.m. Thu., Fine Line, $17.50-$20.) Bream


In a town where Dessa is one of the biggest local rap stars, K. Flay should come as no surprise. The Brooklyn-based Chicago native is gaining a lot of attention as a college-educated female indie-rapper who also can perform with a live band, sing like a bird and write like a demon. She branded her electro-frazzled sound in a remix of the Beastie Boys track "Don't Play No Game I Can't Win" featuring Santigold, and she takes it farther using her own sharp hooks on a new EP, "Eyes Shut." Looks as if she'll be an act to watch at the SXSW fest next month, but she's coming here first as part of the Best Love Is Free mini-fest with locals Toki Wright, Culture Cry Wolf and more. (9 p.m. Sat., Fine Line. $10-$12.) Riemenschneider


Fado is usually described as the blues of Portugal, though it's more Billie Holiday than Bessie Smith. It's a mournful acoustic music that grabs listeners. The Rolling Stones and Prince, among others, have fallen for rising fado star Ana Moura, who is set to make her Twin Cities debut. She does traditional fado tunes as well as a fado treatment of the Stones' "No Expectations," with vocals in English and Portuguese. Read an interview with Moura. (7 p.m. Sun.-Mon., Dakota, $35.) Bream


Always a compelling event for lovers of modern jazz keyboard, the annual Bobby Peterson Memorial Piano Showcase brings back former Twin Citian Bill Carrothers, a veteran of 20-plus CDs and umpteen European tours. He'll play both nights, with Bryan Nichols and Laura Caviani co-starring Friday and Chris Lomheim and Peter Schimke Saturday. (9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Artists' Quarter, $12.) Surowicz

A popular man around Mardi Gras time, local piano luminary Butch Thompson is playing back-to-back Sundays this year, first with his current Butch Thompson Trio, featuring bassist Marty Eggers and Bourbon Street drummer Chris Tyle. (4 p.m. Sun., Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 4100 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls. Free.) Next weekend's show is a "Mardi Gras Tea Dance" and masquerade ball, complete with a mock New Orleans funeral parade and Thompson's five-piece Hiawatha Jazz Band, co-starring Charlie DeVore on cornet and clarinet wiz Tony Balluff. (1 p.m. Feb. 19, C.S.P.S. Hall, W. 7th St. and Michigan Av., St. Paul. $20. www.sokolmn.org.) Surowicz


When Fredrik Melius Christiansen founded the St. Olaf Choir in 1912, he could hardly have foreseen its enormous impact on American choral singing; the Northfield ensemble has long been one of the nation's defining college choirs. Led since 1990 by Anton Armstrong, St. Olaf is capping its 16-city centennial tour with a concert at Orchestra Hall. The program pays homage to the past century and looks forward to the next, embracing motets by Bach and Palestrina, music by the choir's three previous directors and premieres by alumni Ralph M. Johnson and René Clausen, along with arrangements of folk songs and spirituals. (3 p.m. Sun., 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls. $32.) Larry Fuchsberg

In two Minnesota Orchestra concerts, Sommerfest artistic director Andrew Litton brings his expertise in Shostakovich's music to the Symphony No. 7, subtitled "Leningrad." The massive patriotic work, clocking in at 75 minutes, was completed in 1941, while the city was under Nazi siege. Litton is joined by a fellow Sommerfest alum, Israeli violinist Vadim Gluzman, in Prokofiev's lyrical and romantic Second Violin Concerto. (11 a.m. Thu., 8 p.m. next Fri., Orchestra Hall, $22-$84.) William Randall Beard

Hungary's politics may be in turmoil, but the country's paprika-spiced folk-music traditions seem safe in the hands of Rajko, a Budapest school and orchestra that's been cultivating and showcasing the talents of Roma ("gypsy") musicians since 1952. Mixing folk, pop and classical fare, the group headed for St. Paul consists of a clarinetist, five string players and guest artist Sandor Kuti on that most flavorful of Hungarian instruments, the cimbalom (hammered dulcimer). (7 p.m. Thu., St. Sahag Armenian Church, 203 Howell St., St. Paul. $20-$25. www.minnesotahungarians .com.) Fuchsberg